Doctor Who and Catholic teaching

I was surfing for informaiton about Catholic fans of Doctor Who. I first got into the show when I was a kid in the '70s, and started watching it again a couple of years ago. I'm bothered by some of the morally problematic elements in it and wanted to find out what other Catholics who are faithful to the Magesterium think of it. I came across this article called: Doctor Who and the homosexuals of doom, by Jonn Elledge.

I see this thread was going on a while back, but I just found ti today doing some surfing for informaiton about Catholic fans of Doctor Who. I first got into the show when I was a kid in the '70s, and started watching it again a couple of years ago. I'm bothered by some of the morally problematic elements in it and wanted to find out what other Catholics who are faithful to the Magesterium think of it. I came across this article called: Doctor Who and the homosexuals of doom, by Jonn Elledge. liberalconspiracy.org/2010/04...xuals-of-doom/

I also saw an episode with David Eccleston as the Doctor called "Dalek". In the end the Dalek had developed a conscience and lamented the mutated state it was in. The dalek said "This is not life...it is sickness", and urged Rose to order him to destroy himself. She reluctantly agreed and the Dalek destroyed itself. I can't help but think this looks like a subtle endorsement of euthanasia, when the Dalek committed suicide. Granted it was a Dalek, but that's what makes it seem subtle. Euthanisia and suicide of course go against the teahcings of the church, and endorsement of them are things the USCCB rating system say makes a film worthy or an O (morally offensive) rating.

Then of course there are the sexual elements that seem to endorse extra-marital relations and even homosexuality. How is a faithful Catholic to deal with all of this? Should the whole series be condemned or should we judge on an episode by episode basis? It seems difficult considering the agenda that seems to run throughout the show.
Any thoughts on this?

Because the show isn’t promoting homosexuality, whatever that might mean. It’s normalizing it.

Just read the article. The sentence above tells me all I need to know. I've already had a word with my 15 year old Doctor Who fan at home and he undersands my concerns. He asks me now about elements in the show if he's not sure.

The gay agenda is being promoted vigorously in the British media through normalisation. Almost every programme has its gay character (always a nice guy or girl) or gay presenter.

I can probably speak to this question better than anyone on this board, since I am a HUGE Doctor Who fan. How big? I've seen and own every episode (the show's been on for 45 years!) I've met THREE of the actors who've played the lead character, the Doctor (#2 Patrick Troughton, #5 Peter Davison, and #6 Colin Baker). I even know people on the production staff. I'm also a professional historian, and know the history of the show inside and out. So, with that said, let me give some opinions....

First, I don't think there's anything wrong with the episode "Dalek". Yes, the scenario does result in a sort of euthanasia, BUT... there are other things to consider.

1) The Dalek is NOT a human species, and therefore, would not be subject to our laws that apply to humans regarding euthanasia.

2) The Daleks have always been a metaphor for the Nazis. They represent all the worst in the world. The episode is great in demonstrating that its never too late for a sinner (Rose helping the Dalek to find some semblance of humanity at the end), and SIMULTANEOUSLY demonstrating that despite all her best intentions, the Dalek's last act is to help corrupt Rose into giving the order for it's extermination. It once again demonstrates the pure malevolence of the Daleks, and the insidious nature of evil.

3) Rose also helps the Doctor escape from his rage and vengeance, and saves him from himself in the end.

Now... should the whole series be condemned? Absolutely not! It simply needs to be watched with discernment. There is much to like about the show. Admittedly, Russell T. Davies, the former producer of the revived series, is a homosexual and an atheist. He has indeed brought some elements of normalizing homosexual relationships into the show, most noticeably in the bisexual (omnisexual?) Captain Jack Harkness. That said, he has ALSO dealt with the idea of the necessity of faith, things that exist beyond human understanding (most specifically, the Devil being a REAL being in season 2), and as of two weeks ago, he even demonstrated that the church would still be around in the 51st century! (With a sort of militarized future "Knights Templar" to deal with "alien threats to the faith"!) He has written his version of the series very carefully so that people of faith could see it as promoting faith, and atheists could see it supporting their view. It walks a fine line with regard to religion, and has done so relatively well.

I fully agree with Rolltide's previous post. As a Doctor Who fan myself, I believe the series has its good points (such as the Doctor's stance against using guns to fight his enemies, preferring to reason with them, if possible) even if the recent producers have put in some questionable references to controversial issues. As long as the references are not too overt and can be open to interpretation, I think a discerning viewer can take it with a grain of salt and still get something positive out of the overall story.

As a minor correction, Steven Moffat wrote and produced the story about the millitant clerics of the future in the recent episodes, not R.T. Davies.

[quote="AnthonyM2, post:4, topic:198096"]

As a minor correction, Steven Moffat wrote and produced the story about the millitant clerics of the future in the recent episodes, not R.T. Davies.

[/quote]

You are, of course, correct. I had lost my train of thought and forgot to introduce him as the new producer for this season.

If it matters, famed traditional Catholic priest / blogger Father Z is a big Who fan!

[quote="Rolltide, post:3, topic:198096"]
That said, he has ALSO dealt with the idea of the necessity of faith, things that exist beyond human understanding (most specifically, the Devil being a REAL being in season 2), and as of two weeks ago, he even demonstrated that the church would still be around in the 51st century! (With a sort of militarized future "Knights Templar" to deal with "alien threats to the faith"!)

[/quote]

I've only seen the first part, the second part comes on this weekend here in the cold white north :popcorn: Man oh man are those stone angels scary

But is he talking about the Catholic Church or the Anglican Church though? I figured that because it's a British show by the BBC, "Church" would refer to the Church of England.

[quote="curlycool89, post:6, topic:198096"]
I've only seen the first part, the second part comes on this weekend here in the cold white north :popcorn: Man oh man are those stone angels scary

But is he talking about the Catholic Church or the Anglican Church though? I figured that because it's a British show by the BBC, "Church" would refer to the Church of England.

[/quote]

Again... intentional vagueness. Read it as you like!

There are only a couple of lines that address this. When the troops first land, the commanders states to the Doctor that he is "Father Octavian, sir. Bishop, 2nd Class. Twenty clerics at my command."

Then, Amy asks, "Why do they call him Father?"
to which the Doctor replies, "He's their bishop, they're his clerics. It's the fifty-first century, the church has moved on."

:)

[quote="Rolltide, post:3, topic:198096"]

First, I don't think there's anything wrong with the episode "Dalek". Yes, the scenario does result in a sort of euthanasia, BUT... there are other things to consider.

1) The Dalek is NOT a human species, and therefore, would not be subject to our laws that apply to humans regarding euthanasia.

3) Rose also helps the Doctor escape from his rage and vengeance, and saves him from himself in the end.

QUOTE]

Thanks for your response. You've made some interesting comments about this. I also have noticed the likeness of the Daleks tot he nazis.. I guess that isn't difficult for anyone to notice though. What you pointed out about the Daleks not being a human species though and not being subject to out laws etc... I guess that's one way of looking at it. And I took into consideraiton that they are Daleks after all. My concern was that the writer might have been "using" the Dalek as a subtle tool to get people to consider the validity of euthanasia in what theye'd consider extreme circiumstances for humans. Perhaps though that wans't the intent of the writer. I just tend to be suspicious of so much of what I see in the media these days with the pro-death agenda out there. I did like how Rose showed compassoion for the Dalek and as you pointed out, helped the Doctor to have mercy on him too. I actually found myself feeling sorry for the Dalek!

Maybe they should have had the Dalek live and become one of the Doctor's new companions HAHAHAHA... now wouldn't that be a hoot?

Seriously, I'd be interested to see what the USCCB ratings system would say if they did an evaluation of the series. I doubt that'll happen though, so it's definitely a show to watch with discernment and parental guidance for minors.

Also Anthony mentioned Fr. Z being a Doctor Who fan. I've seen his blog before and it's interesting to know he is a fan.

[/quote]

QUOTE]

Also Anthony mentioned Fr. Z being a Doctor Who fan. I've seen his blog before and it's interesting to know he is a fan.

Actually, it was Rolltide that mentioned Fr. Z in a reply to me. But it is interesting to note.

However, I do recall hearing Fr. Roderick of SQPN podcasting fame, (and a big science fiction fan) mention having watched the classic Dr. Who series, but I don't think he has followed the new series since it's revival.

Fathers Brighenti and Trujillo, the authors of Catholicism for Dummies, are also huge Dr. Who fans and even use analogies from the series in their book!

[quote="Rolltide, post:7, topic:198096"]
Again... intentional vagueness. Read it as you like!

There are only a couple of lines that address this. When the troops first land, the commanders states to the Doctor that he is "Father Octavian, sir. Bishop, 2nd Class. Twenty clerics at my command."

Then, Amy asks, "Why do they call him Father?"
to which the Doctor replies, "He's their bishop, they're his clerics. It's the fifty-first century, the church has moved on."

[/quote]

It was just the use of "the church" that made me think that. I'm not British (I'm Canadian), but I'd think that just "the church" in England would mean "Church of England".

Now on the other hand, all of the clerics were male (although soldiers do seem more likely to be men).

Now that is interesting indeed. I’ve never read their book but I’d be interested to see what kind of analogies they use. Is it in that book they say they are fans?

As a Brit, since the head priest was named “Father”, the all-male cleric’s quite religious-sounding names etc., and seemed to be part of an interstellar Church, I presumed the clerics on that episode were being presented as a future component of the Catholic Church, or at least something similar.

I guess I just can’t imagine those soldier-clerics being Church of England vicars. :wink: That still conjures up stereotypical images to me of the Vicar of Dibley, and vicarages drinking tea in vicarages I guess.

Even with the heavy Anglocentric emphasis in Dr Who, and ridiculous exaggeration of Britain’s future importance millenia in the future, I find it hard to imagine the Anglican Communion going interstellar and founding a coherent military unit. There’d be too many arguments for one thing. Alpha Centurian Anglicans would probably defer on moral issues with Solar System Anglicans, risking a schism. :smiley:

Who?

[quote="Ahimsa, post:14, topic:198096"]
Who?

[/quote]

Precisely!

[quote="kingal86, post:13, topic:198096"]
As a Brit, since the head priest was named "Father", the all-male cleric's quite religious-sounding names etc., and seemed to be part of an interstellar Church, I presumed the clerics on that episode were being presented as a future component of the Catholic Church, or at least something similar.

I guess I just can't imagine those soldier-clerics being Church of England vicars. ;) That still conjures up stereotypical images to me of the Vicar of Dibley, and vicarages drinking tea in vicarages I guess.

Even with the heavy Anglocentric emphasis in Dr Who, and ridiculous exaggeration of Britain's future importance millenia in the future, I find it hard to imagine the Anglican Communion going interstellar and founding a coherent military unit. There'd be too many arguments for one thing. Alpha Centurian Anglicans would probably defer on moral issues with Solar System Anglicans, risking a schism. :D

[/quote]

Ok. It's nice to hear something from someone on that side of the pond because it's a different culture than ours.

Half an hour until the concluding episode. I'm curious, excited, and terrified all at the same time :thumbsup:

The Doctor is multi-faceted but generally he avoids violence (as pointed out) unless he must use it. The tenth Doctor was written as somewhat harsher given the personal events he had lived through but here's the most iconic of the Doctor's incarnations in a scene that I personally like:-

The Doctor: [while examining an infected man who's going to be shot by his comrades] The man is sick, he needs treatment!
Lester: There is no treatment. All we can try to do is stop the infection spreading!
The Doctor: Sorry, gentlemen, I can't allow it.
Commander Stevenson: You can't allow it?
The Doctor: My colleague is a doctor of medicine and I'm a doctor of many things. If we could examine him-
Kellman: [interrupting him] Commander, I'm afraid we have to kill these people, too. They brought the plague in here.
The Doctor: Who's the homicidal maniac?

There's also a quote about evil been a sign ultimately of monumental weakness that the Doctor makes in one of the comic book adaptions that I think illustrates him pretty well. I'm trying to track it down.

Surely we can hope that the Catholic and Anglican Churches will have reunited by the 51st century? As such, I interpreted "the Church" to mean "the Christian Church".

Since I am watching all the old River Song episodes again to gear up for the next season, I just re-watched Time of Angels yesterday. Father Octavian asks his verger for a report on explosives shortly after he meets the Doctor. Wouldn’t that indicate more of an Anglican bent to the faith?

Not absolutely. It could simply indicate the office had been kept in an Anglican rite mass re-unification scenario. Also the office was historically used in the Catholic Church as well.

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